Go visit your elderly relatives

For Christmas, the wife and I promised to bring or cook dinner for my maternal grandmother on Monday nights (In the winter, there are no parking restrictions on our street on Tuesdays, so Monday is a good night to drive somewhere). She’s very hard to shop for because she doesn’t really want or need anything, but company is always welcome, and she has a hard time cooking for herself. Tonight was the first time we went, at least as a Christmas present. We’ve visited plenty of times before, especially since her great-granddaughter was born. It was really nice. Addie behaved herself pretty well, even sitting on my lap through dinner without fussing. Quite a lot to ask of a girl the day she turns four months old. But it made me think of my paternal grandmother. She passed away almost two years ago, and there’s a part of me that wishes I’d spent more time with her, especially at the end. When I was in college, I saw her pretty often, and we had a great relationship. After I moved to the DC area, it was harder to visit, and I didn’t do it as often as I might have. We still had a good relationship, but it wasn’t quite the same as it was before. In any event, I won’t regret the time I might have spent with my maternal grandmother when she’s gone. And all of you, especially if you have elderly relatives, should think about how busy you really are, and whether you could spend a little more time with them, and with the other people you care about. Time spent with people who are important to you is almost never wasted.

The little brother is off to law school

My baby brother is leaving today for law school on the other side of the country. It’s a pretty mixed feeling for me. On one hand, I’m obviously happy and excited for him. Law school is a great opportunity, and it should be a great experience, and I’m glad he’s figuring out what he wants to do with his life. On the other hand, I’d kind of gotten used to him being close by, playing on the flag football team, and all that. Plus, he’ll be in Arizona when his first niece or nephew is born next month. Luckily, I’ll be at happy hour when his plane leaves today, so I can have a drink for him. I think he’ll appreciate that.

What to do when your team isn’t local

So my little brother is heading to Arizona State for law school in the fall. I’m both happy for him and this opportunity, and a little sad that he’ll be across the country. But I’ll get used to it – the wife deals with siblings on both coasts and in between, so I can manage. But in his list of things to do, he mentions “Become an Arizona Cardinals fan”. This is where it’s clear that he needs some guidance from his older and wiser brother. I’m in a sort of similar situation. My football team is local (Well, sort of – they’d be local if the Washington Redskins actually played in Washington, but whatever), but my baseball team is not. The Orioles are far enough away that I can’t get to an evening game without leaving work early. But we have the Nationals. There are two important things about the Nationals that I think are nearly mirrored by the Cardinals. One, they’re terrible. They’ve pretty much been at the bottom of the standings since they were the Expos. And two, they have a beautiful stadium. What does this mean? Empty seats and a great place to watch the visiting team. The wife and I went to RFK before the Nats moved to watch the Nats play the Oakland A’s (As a baseball fan, I’ve of course read Moneyball, so of course I have a soft spot for the A’s. Plus they were my team in ’88 before McGwire was a cheater and when Eck and Stewart and Rickey were awesome). We saw Barry Zito before his arm fell off. A friend and I went to a game at RFK and watched Tom Glavine pitch for the Mets. Now, the Cardinals don’t really play anyone cool at home next year – they play the Redskins in Washington, they play in New England – with one exception. On October 12th, the Dallas Cowboys come to Tempe. This is a perfect opportunity. By attending the game as a Cowboys hater, you in effect become a Cardinals fan without disgracing your DC Metro Area roots by actually becoming a Cardinals fan. You’re free to root for the Cardinals, exchange high-fives with Cardinals fans, and generally have a good time rooting for the home team. But you get to keep your football soul. Everyone wins. Except the Cardinals. They never win.

Family tree building

Main Page – GRAMPS

GRAMPS is a Free Software Project for Genealogy, offering a professional genealogy program, and a wiki open to all. It is a community project, created, developed and governed by genealogists.

I’ve been trying to collect some family names in preparation for the baby. The wife and I wouldn’t mind using a family name for the baby if we can find one we like, so we’re trying to find one we like. A cousin of my grandmother gave her a copy of the Wolman family tree (My maternal grandmother’s maiden name is Wolman). And I spent most of yesterday evening entering it into GRAMPS, the above-linked genealogy program. It’s really just a graphical front end for some sort of custom database, it seems, but it’s a pretty cool product for creating a family tree. There are websites that let you do it, but they seem to want money. But since this program was developed for Linux (and is included in the Ubuntu packages, for those using Ubuntu), it’s free. I think the final count when I finished last night was 388 people in the tree. Some of them are unnamed, and there were a few guesses where the writing got cut off when it was photocopied. But it’s a pretty extensive picture of that part of the family. My next goal is to get something similar on my dad’s side, and then work on the wife’s family. And I’d like to get the important dates in – almost no one in the tree has a birth or a death date, and many of non-Wolmans don’t have last names. This is especially common for women who married in and stopped using their maiden names, and I imagine many genealogists have this problem. But it’s kind of fun to find out all this stuff. Even if we don’t find a name for the kid, I’d be happy with just having a big family tree to pass along.

Top Three Reasons my Wife is Awesome

There is no question that my wife is awesome. You may think I’m biased, but I assure you that my bias pales in comparison to her awesomeness. Reason #1 that my wife is awesome: She refuses to rest on her laurels. The reasons she is great right now are not necessarily the same as the reasons she was great last year, or will be great next year. For example, earlier in our relationship, she had the opportunity to meet a bunch of my friends from way back all at once. They can be a little intimidating – it’s a big group of people who have known each other a long time, and they’re full of inside jokes and whatnot. Anyway, instead of being intimidated, she jumped right in and made friends. But that’s not on the list now. Reason #2 that my wife is awesome: She’s taking me to Paris for my 30th birthday. She just told me today (Through a little treasure hunt). I can’t wait. She’s wanted to take me for a while. She lived in France for a year or so and speaks fluent French. I’ve never been to France, and can say, “I don’t speak French” in French. But I’m very excited. We’re renting a little efficiency for six nights in late April. It’s right in the middle of everything, and we’re going to see the Rodin museum and the Champs Elysees and we’ll eat baguettes and cheese. Reason #3 that my wife is awesome: She’s pregnant. Yup, about fifteen weeks in. This is our first, and I’m more excited than I’m even going to get close to expressing. I got to see an ultrasound two weeks ago, and just watching my little son or daughter hopping around in there was surreal. Anyway, more to come, but I think I’m going to get off the computer and go hang out with my awesome wife.

cookies

I swear I wouldn’t eat any junk food if my wife didn’t buy it becuase it was “buy one, get one” or “on sale”.&nbsp_place_holder; Damnit woman, don’t buy that stuff! I feel oddly compelled to eat it once it crosses the threshold of our house.